Look and learn from Messi, says Troussier

2010-06-15 08:24

Former Japan coach Philippe Troussier has urged the Blue Samurai to

look at Argentine star striker Lionel Messi and stop whining about their

physical size at the World Cup.

“It is not basketball we are talking about here and besides, look

at Lionel Messi, he is even smaller than most Japanese and he is the best player

in the world,” the firebrand Frenchman told Japan’s Kyodo news agency in a

recent interview.

Messi stands 1.69m, shorter than any of the 23 players on Japan’s

World Cup squad.

“Japanese players are basically the same size as the Mexicans,”

said Troussier, who guided Japan to the last-16 round in 2002 for their best

ever World Cup result yet.

“And what they lack is tactical nous and experience and the only

way for them to get more experience is by playing abroad,” he said as Japan

prepared for their World Cup opener against African powerhouse Cameroon in Group

E, which also includes the Netherlands and Denmark.

“Cameroon’s players all ply their trade overseas but about 80% of

Japan’s play in their own country,” said the 55-year-old disciplinarian, who has

built his coaching career in African nations where he is remembered as a “white

witch doctor”.

About 10 Japanese players are playing in European clubs at present

and four of them are on Takeshi Okada’s World Cup squad - CSKA Moscow midfielder

Keisuke Honda, Wolfsburg midfielder Makoto Hasebe, Grenoble midfielder Daisuke

Matsui and Catania striker Takayuki Morimoto.

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